Nortel Networks has made the move it had been promising into routing with its $99.5m acquisition of Tasman Networks.
San Jose, California-based Tasman has offerings for the enterprise and carrier markets, but it the enterprise routing, and in particular the branch-in-a-box or BiaB area of remote office connectivity enabled by its recently launched 3120 product that drew the Canadian telecoms and networking vendor to the company.
The reason is clear: Cisco reigns supreme in core enterprise routing, while in carrier routing Juniper has at least made inroads, but branch office routing is an emerging space where there are several contenders and Cisco is less dominant. It nonetheless has huge ambitions there, touting its Integrated Services Router as a platform not only for WAN routing but also for other functions such as security, VoIP, and WLAN. Juniper too has revealed plans for such a BiaB offering later this year.
A recent Tolly Group report found that Tasman’s 3120 outperformed both the 2800 and 3800 routers from Cisco at considerably lower prices. Paul Compton, security product manager Nortel in the EMEA region, said it will be looking to add more functionality to the router/VPN concentrator/stateful firewall capabilities the 3120 already offers. He said that as it is, the box is optimized for new-wave apps such as VoIP but has excellent small-packet capabilities, where normally routers are optimized for large packets. Additional security functions are also expected to be added to the 3120, which will be re-branded as the Nortel Secure Router.
In addition Compton said the company is exploring its options for high-end enterprise routing, with nothing concrete at the moment. However, Tasman has offerings in that space, so it might not be necessary for Nortel to look further afield for something to replace its BayRS line.